Responsible organizations all over the world have recognized that carbon management is a fundamental part of their business strategy.
There are many ways to reduce your corporate carbon footprint but, for most, the constraints of an existing business structure make it impossible to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions. That’s where carbon offsets come in – but how should you integrate offsets into your carbon management strategy?
What Does a Successful Carbon Offset Execution Process Look Like?
The key is to follow a well-established and proven process:
- Measure baseline emissions
- Set science based reduction targets
- Meet the targets most cost effectively
- Communicate activity to stakeholders
Step 1 – Measure baseline emissions
No organization can successfully claim to have reduced its carbon footprint without first accurately measuring its baseline emissions. This can be a daunting prospect, but there are online calculators to help with the process.
Step 2 – Set science based reduction targets
When setting goals for your emissions reduction strategy, it’s not a matter of simply picking a number that looks good. A science based target is an ambitious decarbonization target that will contribute towards limiting the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius.
A science based target should include all Scope 1 and 2 emissions (and Scope 3 if they make up 40% or more of the total). It must include medium- and long-term goals as well as interim milestones.
Step 3 – Meet the targets most cost-effectively
Once you know the scale of the task, getting from A to B (from baseline to target) is about comparing the relative cost of the available carbon reduction options, such as switching to renewable energy or investing in more energy-efficient equipment.
Potential projects can be ranked in terms of cost per tonne of carbon equivalent avoided, typically presented as a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC). The MACC presents the extra (or ‘marginal’) costs and carbon reduction (or ‘abatement’) potential of each option relative to a business-as-usual baseline.
Using the MACC, it is easy to identify the point at which investing in carbon offsets is more cost-effective than other potential projects – that is to say, when there are no remaining emissions reduction projects that can be implemented at a lower cost per tonne of carbon.
Of course, carbon offsets can also be a useful ‘stopgap’ measure whilst other, more cost-effective projects are still in the planning or implementation phase.
Step 4 – Communicate activity to stakeholders
Cutting carbon emissions and investing in carbon offsets is a great opportunity to deliver good news to your customers and other stakeholders. Supporting low carbon projects at home or abroad by investing in voluntary offsets is often popular with consumers – read more about marketing your actions here.
It’s important to ensure that you choose carbon offsets that have been through a rigorous third party validation process, and that the program has met internationally recognized carbon standards to guarantee that the carbon savings are genuine.
Experienced offset providers can help you through the process of executing your carbon offset plan, from measuring your baseline to providing the guarantee of quality your stakeholders expect and demand.
Reach Your Carbon Goals with NativeEnergy
Whether your aim is to cut business costs, maximize growth or enhance your corporate reputation, investing in carbon offsets as part of a wider carbon management strategy can help you achieve your goals.
NativeEnergy provides long lasting offset projects that consistently meet your science based emissions reduction targets. And with HelpBuild socially progressive offsets, you can support wider social and environmental benefits alongside carbon reductions.